Select the Appropriate Chiller or Ice Mat System for Your Backyard Ice Rink

Building a backyard ice rink is the dream of many ice skating enthusiasts, whether they enjoy figure skating or hockey. A backyard rink provides hours of enjoyable skating for you, your family, and friends to enjoy together – especially with perfect ice conditions provided by investing in equipment like an ice chiller and mat system – both popular choices among rink builders. Here we discuss their features, benefits, and considerations so that you can make an informed decision for your backyard ice rink project.

Backyard Ice Rink Chiller

A backyard ice rink chiller is a refrigeration unit specifically designed to cool the ice surface efficiently, using a system of coolant circulation, compressors and heat exchangers to remove excess heat from the surface while maintaining an ideal low temperature environment. Here is what you should know about this cooling solution:

  • Effective Cooling Power: Backyard ice rink chillers are known for their incredible cooling power, enabling them to keep the rink icy even in milder climates. Their powerful chilling ensures uniform thickness across the surface, eliminating weak spots or melting patches and decreasing the risk of weak spots or melting patches.
  • Size Matters: When choosing the appropriate chiller for your backyard ice rink, take into account its dimensions. An undersized unit could struggle to maintain desired ice thickness levels while an oversized chiller could lead to unnecessary energy usage.
  • Energy Efficiency: Modern backyard ice rink chillers often boast energy-saving features like variable-speed compressors and smart controls, helping optimize energy usage to lower utility bills while simultaneously decreasing your ecological impact.
  • Installation Complexity: Installing a chiller may require more work and may need professional assistance in order to be set up safely and correctly.

Ice Mat System

An alternative method of creating a backyard ice rink, the Ice Mat System offers another approach. Instead of relying on refrigeration alone, this system employs interlinked ice mats which cover its surface area. Here are some key points:

  • Easy Installation: One of the main benefits of the ice mat system is its straightforward setup process. In just minutes you can lay out mats, connect them to water source and begin freezing. Its straightforwardness makes it an attractive option for DIY rink setup.
  • Flexibility: Ice mats offer incredible versatility when it comes to temporary rinks or locations with limited space, making them the perfect solution.
  • Water Consumption: Ice mat systems tend to consume less water than traditional flooding methods, making them an environmentally-friendly option for users with reduced water needs.
  • Cooling Capacity: While ice mats can keep recreational activities ice cold for recreational activities, their cooling capacities may be limited in extreme heat conditions and might not provide as effective a cooling solution as backyard rink chillers in warmer environments.

Selecting an Ice Mat System

Things to Keep in Mind | BIC When choosing between an outdoor ice rink chiller and an ice mat system, take into account these key aspects:

  • Climate: Evaluate the typical weather conditions of your region. If mild winters prevail, an outdoor ice rink chiller could provide reliable ice maintenance throughout the winter season.
  • Budget: Determine a realistic budget for the project, taking into account both upfront costs and ongoing maintenance expenses. Compare prices and energy efficiency measures to identify the most cost-effective option that meets your requirements.
  • Consider Your Backyard Space: When selecting an ice mat system for use in your backyard, consider its available space and potential uses in offseason use. Portability may prove advantageous depending on its use as part of other purposes in your backyard area.
  • Skill Level: Evaluate your DIY skills and level of comfort when performing installation and maintenance tasks for an outdoor ice rink chiller; while DIY enthusiasts should generally find ice mat installation easier.


Both backyard ice rink chiller and mat systems provide unique advantages when creating your personal winter wonderland. A chiller’s powerful cooling power ensures reliable ice conditions across various climates, while an ice mat system’s convenience and flexibility is perfect for temporary rinks. When selecting the best option for you and your loved ones, keep these three points in mind: your needs, budget and space availability must all come into consideration when making the decision. A well-kept backyard ice rink is sure to become the center of winter enjoyment all season long!